Rays to Unveil Plan to Split Season Between Tampa, Montreal on Tropicana Field Sign

Adam WellsSeptember 25, 2021

A Tampa Bay Rays helmet sits on the field by the batting cage as players participate in batting practice at baseball spring training in Port Charlotte Fla., Monday March 2, 2015. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez

The Tampa Bay Rays intend to use the postseason to boost their plan to split future seasons between Tampa and Montreal. 

Rays president Matt Silverman appeared on Saturday's This Week in Rays Baseball radio show to discuss the plan that includes putting a sign on one of the outfield walls at Tropicana Field. 

“We’re going to add a sign in the right field foul territory with a very simple Tampa Bay Montreal graphic,” Silverman said (h/t Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times). “Especially with the eyes of baseball on us this October, we want that visible symbol of our plan and our excitement for it. It will mark the effort subtly and keep the focus on winning.”

The Rays' idea of splitting home games between Tampa and Montreal was first brought forward by team owner Stuart Sternberg in December 2019. 

Speaking to Topkin about the plan, Sternberg called the split home the easiest way to keep the Rays in Tampa. 

Talks between the Rays and local government officials in Tampa over a new stadium have been ongoing for years.

As recently as August, Charlie Frago of the Tampa Bay Times noted Tampa Mayor Jane Castor and city council members were fine with the split-season concept after meeting with team officials. 

Frago added Castor and the city council are still hopeful about the possibility of reaching a deal for a new ballpark. 

Topkin, citing sources in the Le Journal de Montreal, noted a deal between the Rays and city of Montreal could be announced "sometime after the Nov. 7 Montreal city elections, and that 'an important meeting' will be held 'very soon' in Florida to finalize details."

The Rays are tied to St. Petersburg through the 2027 season as part of their lease agreement with the city. 

Tropicana Field has been the Rays' home since their inaugural season in 1998. The stadium is often cited as one of the worst in Major League Baseball, both for its aesthetics and poor location within the city. 

Despite the franchise's consistent success for more than a decade, the Rays routinely rank at or near the bottom of the league in attendance figures. 

Montreal hasn't had an MLB team since the Expos relocated to Washington D.C. after the 2004 season. 

The Rays will host the first two games of the American League Division Series starting on Oct. 7.